Curious about what a round of this year's FRC matches look like? Take a look at our final match from our district competition at Shorewood High School, in Shoreline, WA. But there's more to these robotics competitions than just robots... check out our team and others having fun between rounds! If you want to learn a bit more about what the robots are trying to accomplish, watch this video made by FIRST for an official explanation of this year's game.
April 23-26, 2014 - World Championship at St. Louis!
World Championship... what a rush! A busy and stressful few days, through which our team and robot competed against and alongside the top 400 teams from around the world for the title champion. Competing here is the ultimate goal, and ultimate show of skill for any FRC team - we made it here as rookies!
The matches themselves were a little rough for us, as we had a few alliance pairings that weren't ideal. Regardless, ATLaS behaved better than usual, with 100% accuracy in autonomous mode, and very nearly the same in tele-operated play-time. After facing some of the best teams we had ever seen, we finished qualification rounds with a win-loss record of 5-5, which was far greater than any of us, or other teams, had predicted.
Beyond the actual competitions, being amongst the best of the best was an incredible experience for the 13 of us that were able to attend. We were surrounded by industrial giants, representatives from renowned technical schools (including MIT), and thousands upon thousands of students like us. Whether from Israel, France, Canada, Mexico, Holland, or anywhere else, everybody was excited to be there, and having the time of our lives!
Thank you to our families, school district, and community for supporting us throughout our first year, and for allowing our team to experience such an amazing opportunity as this. Let's hope we can do it all over again!
April 10-12, 2014 - Success in Portland!
We did it! After a stressful but rewarding few days, we have now qualified for the FRC World Championship in St. Louis, Missouri! This has been our highest ambition as a rookie team, and a true accomplishment for us all - all the work that we have put in within and without the build season has paid off here!
This event was the biggest we've attended so far, with 63 top teams of the Pacific Northwest, Washington and Oregon, competing for the ability to compete in the World Championship. Every single team had worked hard to make it here, and though everyone was so gracious and professional about offering help and congratulations to other teams, the tension (and enormity!) was certainly felt by all. Additionally, the excitement was infectious, and you can see that some of us (including our Coach, Mr. Chee!) took this as an opportunity to have some fun!
We started off with another efficiently passed robot-inspection, and got to fine-tuning ATLaS on the practice field on Wednesday night, before the competitions began. After a bit of debugging, we tracked down the cause of some inaccuracies at our last competition in Shorewood: a broken bolt! After replacing the culprit, ATLaS was back in shape for the championship.
Thursday, Friday, and much of Saturday passed with an unpredictable mixture of successes and failures regarding our alliances, as well as our robot. Through all of that, we finished off qualification rounds strong with a win-loss record of 8-4, and defeated the number 1 ranked team of the championship! By elimination rounds, we were 13th out of 63 teams; even with that, and the great matches beforehand, we weren't selected for elimination alliances. To the disappointment of the whole team, St. Louis became seemingly unreachable for us. Of course, that didn't stop some of us from enjoying our time in the competition!
However, with a bit of unpredicted success in the pits, we finished off the competition by winning the District-level Rookie Inspiration Award, and a boosted ranking of 16 out of over 150 in the PNW District... the top 24 qualify for the World Championship! Against all odds, we, a rookie team, have made it to St. Louis!
We now have a busy week-and-a-half before the final championship, but we also need to take a moment to thank our parents, other family members, coach, teachers, mentors, sponsors, friends, and school for the opportunity to succeed as we have. It is thanks to you that we can proudly be a part of a championship with the world's best FRC teams!
April 4, 2014 - Thank You for Your Support!
To all who donated this past few weeks, thank you! Not only did we meet our goal of $4,000 for the Portland Championship, but we exceeded it with a final tally of $4,470! Thank you to our supportive community members, friends, families, and anyone else who took an interest in what we do; our ability to advance this season is all thanks to you.
The extra funds will now be put towards kickstarting next year’s team, or hopefully, if we qualify, the cost of competing at the World FRC Championship in St. Louis, Missouri (fingers crossed!).
Your generosity is what makes Bainbridge Island such a special place to live, and we are proud to represent this island in the eyes of FRC.
March 25, 2014 - Fundraising Blitz for Portland
Because of our robot’s and teammates’ performance at our two District Competitions in Shorewood and Glacier Peak, we are currently ranked 7th out of over 150 teams in the Pacific Northwest; this means that we’ve qualified for the Regional Championships in Portland, OR! The only issue is, now we need to pay for our participation -- the entrance fee alone is $4,000, and the deadline is April 1st.
Though we don’t have much time to raise this money, our parents, sponsors, and supporters have all stepped in to cover what they can. In just one day of the twelve we are allowed, a quarter of our goal was met! Thank you to all who donated; we now have $3,000 to go in order to allow for our advance into the championships.
If you are interested in helping us, even the smallest donation is appreciated greatly. Please go here to donate 100% tax deductible (In the second step to donate, select "Designate Your Donation" and write in BHS Robotics Team):
Also, check out this article written by our city’s local online news site to help spread the word!
March 21-22, 2014 - First Place at Shorewood!
Gold medals for Bainbridge Spartronics! In just our second competition ever, we took first place in the Shorewood elimination tournament. We also earned our second trophy from the judges: the Rookie Inspiration Award. Even as we celebrate our incredible success in our District Competitions, we are already looking forward to the Regional Championship in Portland, Oregon.
Starting on Friday, March 21 at Shorewood High School in Shoreline, we got up early to set up our pit area and prepare our robot for competition. With a good-luck doodle from Governor Jay Inslee, we were all ready for a crazy few days. This time, we had new gear to show off: our pit boss cape and Spartronics Mascot.
Despite our enthusiasm, we had a tough time during the Qualification Rounds. During this phase of the competition, we temporarily compete alongside two robots from two randomly selected teams. This is all done against three opposing robots, selected the same way. Since this was the second tournament of the year for many teams (for some, even third!), everybody had improved strategies and designs compared to the first district competitions. After a series of very close matches, and some unlucky mechanical failures of our robot-teammates, by the end of qualifiers our overall record was 5 wins and 7 losses.
A team’s win-loss record, however, is only half the story. Teams are constantly scouting each other, looking for strong individual performances. Once the qualification matches are finished, the top eight teams get to choose two other teams each to complete their alliance of three robots during elimination rounds. We were chosen as the fifth place team’s first choice. Our alliance was made of Team 4077 M*A*S*H from Edmonds-Woodway High School and Team 4559 FIRST DRaFT from Redmond. With our alliance in place we entered the elimination tournament.
Quarterfinals began a little rough for us, as we had to play for the best of three matches with the number 4 seed alliance. But with a little luck regarding technical rules after a series of too-close games, we were able to progress (albeit a little stressed-out!). From that point on it a straight shot to the finish line. Our alliance swept the semifinals and finals in a series of intense, but successful games. Against all odds, the number 5 seeded alliance, including our rookie team, won the Shorewood District Tournament!
Before we get too excited for our next competition, we’d like thank our teammates and sponsors who got us there. First of all, we are incredibly grateful to Team 4077 M*A*S*H, who had the courage and confidence to pick us, a rookie team, to be a part of their alliance. We thank Team 4559 FIRST DRaFT as well, who gave an outstanding performance that helped propel our alliance to victory. We also would like to extend our thanks to all of our sponsors, who are the reason we have the opportunity to compete in events like these. And finally, a huge thank you to all of our mentors, parents, and supporters, as well as the driving force behind the program, Coach Chee.
To learn more about the Portland Regional Championship, visit http://oregonfirst.org/events/pnw-frc-championship/
March 7-8, 2014 - All-Stars at Glacier Peak!
Here it is: our very first competition! To start off, a few team members set up our pit Thursday afternoon (the fastest Rookie inspection, according to the judges), and the rest of the team followed early Friday morning. Though a little overwhelmed, we were all excited, and immediately kicked off our competition with eight wins of our nine matches, finishing the day at seed 1! By the next day, during elimination rounds, we found ourselves a member of the 3rd seeded alliance (along with M*A*S*H 4077 and Wolverine Robotics 949), and made it all the way to semifinal rounds.
Because of our robot’s success (despite a few launcher malfunctions, and a lost part), the judges awarded team Spartronics the highest rookie honor possible (often not even given out at competitions): The Rookie All-Star Award! We are incredibly pleased with our performance so far, and so grateful for the support of both competing and allied teams, as well as every volunteer and parent that could spare the time they did!
Now, on to Shorewood!
Visit http://www.district.firstwa.org/PNW/2014 for more ranking information.
Check out our gallery to see photos from the event!
February 24, 2014 - Constructing Our Pit
As per the norm of FRC events, each competing team/school is allotted a small space (known as “the pit”) away from the action of the actual competition. Here, the robot is housed and adjusted between competition rounds, but additionally becomes the home-base of team members, student representatives, as well as marketing info and materials. But there is more to the pit than just functionality, as a team HQ can provide interesting opportunities to show the spirit of the group to other scouting teams. Check out what we’ve got so far!
February 18, 2014 - End of the Build Season
After six weeks of work, and a few last-minute malfunctions, the robot has (finally!) been bagged. Though stress-levels have been high amongst the engineers, we are all proud of the final state of ATLaS. Now, it’s hands off! The next weeks before the competition are time only for programming, and the building of our “pit” for the coming competitions (more on that later).
February 12, 2014 - Thanks for the Successful Open House!
Thank you to everyone who attended our Open House; over 250 people of all ages and backgrounds joined us in learning about the FIRST! program and our robot too. Demonstrations of our robot went on without hitch, and it seems like a whole new group of students, parents, and other community members has grown excited for our coming competitions, and the longevity of Bainbridge Island’s school STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs.
If you missed the Open House but still want to see what we’re all about, don’t worry -- you can still partake in coming events. Just keep up to date by following us on Facebook and Twitter, and keeping an eye on our website. Thank you all for your enthusiasm!
February 5, 2014 - Upcoming Open House
Are you curious about what goes on at the FIRST Robotics Team meetings? Do you want to see first hand what we've been doing? Come to our Open House on February 12, 5:00pm to 7:00pm, to learn more about the program. Everybody is invited: sponsors, parents, students, teachers, and anybody in the community who has an interest in the future of STEM programs on Bainbridge Island.
January 29, 2014 - Ball Intake System
The robot’s ball gatherer (dubbed the “harvester”) has been quickly taking form, and will be ready for testing soon. Additional parts have arrived, and finally the pneumatics have been adjusted and fit to the robot’s frame. The workroom has been bustling for weeks now, and it seems that we are all becoming used to the sound of cutting metal; let’s hope that the physics students don’t mind such a cluttered classroom!
January 22, 2014 - Chassis Work and Wiring
The parts have been coming together! More prototyping this week, plus the construction of our chassis and wiring. The electronics have been working at last, and at this point we’ve begun ordering new parts and materials (an exciting process for everybody!). The week before high school finals, stress levels have been high in the build-room. And yet we’ve been making steady progress -- busy indeed! Fueled by nothing but pizza and the proximity to success, we are all looking forward to a functional robot, and another productive weekend.
January 12, 2014 - Initial Building and Prototyping
After spending three days planning and designing, Team 4915 was eager to begin construction. We accomplished a lot in just one meeting, from building to coding to prototyping. Our chassis team worked fast and hard to finish the foundation of the robot. The electrical team completed the basic internal wiring, and our programmers connected a joystick and began to add functions. Our prototypers were busy trying multiple designs for picking up and launching game balls. In the clip above, we can see our prototype ball catapult. Check in regularly for more updates on the BHS FIRST Robotics Team!
January 8, 2014 - Build Season in Full Swing!
January fourth has come and gone, which means the build season has begun! Our Bainbridge High School Robotics Team is now hard at work planning and designing their robot. This year's challenge is called Arial Assist, where contestants work together in teams of three robots to throw balls through high goals, push balls into low goals, and toss balls over a central truss. We will have to work together with other teams to strategize and plan our games. If you would like to learn more about this year's game, watch this video. We look forward to a great year!